Automaker gets deadline extension for U.S. diesel settlement
At a press briefing in Wolfsburg, Germany, the Volkswagen Group announced that it plans to introduce over 30 EVs by 2025 as part of its strategy to get itself out of its diesel emissions cheating scandal, according to a new report from Bloomberg. Group CEO Matthias Mueller said that the company is expecting to sell around 2 to 3 million EVs per year by 2025.
In addition toaccelerating development of EVs, VW will also focus on autonomous driving, car-sharing,ride-hailing services. According toBloomberg, the company will invest at least $11.2 billion USD in those new technologies over the next two decades.Last month, Volkswagen invested $300 million on a ride-hailing app called Gett.
Additionally, Volkswagen is also planning to merge its entire components manufacturing operations into one division, which is currently spread out across 26 plants across the globe and has employs 67,000 workers. The company told Bloombergthat it will combine all relevant activities across all of the brands under its umbrella, which according to Mueller, could “improve transparency while boosting internal competition.”
U.S. Diesel Deadline Extended
According to a recent report from Reuters, a judge has extended Volkswagen’s deadline on reaching a final settlement with U.S. regulators and owners regarding its diesel emissions scandal. In April, a tentative settlement was announced, which included an offer by Volkswagen to buy back vehicles equipped with the 2.0-liter turbodiesel I-4 that was emitting up to 40 times the legal amount of NOx. During the same month, U.S District Judge Charles Breyer gave the automaker until June 21 to file the final settlement but this week, he has agreed to give a one-week extension to finish the agreement. In a written order, Breyer stated that he was extending the deadline after one was requested by former FBI director Robert S. Mueller, who was the court-appointed mediator, because of “the highly technical nature of the proposed settlements in these complex proceedings.”
Reuters also revealed that, the EPA, CARB, the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice, and lawyers representing owners of affected vehicles have spent weeks trying to finalize the agreements. Part of the settlement also includes the option for owners to get their vehicles fixed should regulators approve a solution. Additionally, Breyer said in April that there will also be a “substantial monetary compensation” for owners. However, the agreement will still has to go through public comment and needs to receive final judicial approval, which could be given at the next hearing scheduled for July 26.
Vehicles equipped with the larger 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 will not be addressed at a later time as the initial settlement only involves cars equipped with the 2.0-liter turbodiesel I-4. The larger V-6 was found to have software that enabled it to emit nine times the legal amount of NOx. In total, around 80,000 Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche cars and SUVs equipped with the 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 are affected.
Volkswagen’s violation of the Clean Air Act will also be resolved at a later date, according to Reuters’ sources. In September 2015, when the emissions cheating scandal broke out, the EPA revealed that Volkswagen could be fined up to $18 billion USD. The company also faces a criminal investigation bythe U.S. Department of Justice.